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Oct
18

CHARACTERISTICS OF CLAPHAM

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The Clapham Society is an organization of Christians from diverse denominational backgrounds united together in purpose, character and calling.

Following the model of the original Clapham community, below is the vehicle we have chosen for implementing a functional and structured 21st century community of Christian activists.

Characteristics of the Clapham Society:

1. They shared a common commitment to Jesus Christ and a clear sense of calling.
2. They were committed to lifelong friendship.
3. Their advocacy was marked by careful research, planning and strategy.
4. They worshiped both privately and publicly.
5. Their friendships were inclusive and focused on the essentials. For example: Wilberforce was a Wesleyan and his close friend, Henry Thornton, was a Calvinist.
6. They made family life a clear priority.
7. They kept the “long view” on completing projects. The abolition of the slave trade took 20 years!
8. They made no dichotomy between evangelism and social action.
9. Their faith was integral to all of life… family, career, friendship and more. It was a faith that the younger generation calls “24/7.” They talked together of a faith that impacted every part of their lives. There were no “compartments.”
10. They enabled one another vs. trying to “have it all.” They recognized each others passions and supported one another in addressing them.

QUOTE:

“I apprehend the essential practical characteristic of true Christians to be this: that relying on the promises to repenting sinners of acceptance through the Redeemer, they have renounced and abjured all other masters, and have cordially and unreservedly devoted themselves to God… It is now their determined purpose to yield themselves without reserve to the reasonable service of the rightful sovereign. They are not their own: their bodily and mental faculties, their natural and acquired endowments, their substance, their authority, their time, their influence, all these they consider as belonging to them… to be consecrated to the honor of God and employed in his service.”

– William Wilberforce

 

 

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Oct
19

America’s Worldview

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What philosophical worldview best supports and defines that which makes up our American culture? What frames our identity as a nation and upholds the freedoms and liberties we all enjoy?

Is it that we are a secular nation with no specific moral governance derived from any one spiritual or religious source? If one answers yes, can they also really say this is why we are such a unique nation with its freedoms, opportunities, generosity and compassion?

How about Islam? Has any nation with a muslim dominating worldview been able to produce such liberty?

Hinduism?

Atheism?

The answer for any thinking person has to be a resounding NO! Therefore it can also be argued that a level “multi-cultural” playing field, philosophically speaking, where all of the above named worldviews can co-govern morally and spiritually to produce any of what makes America what it is, is an absolute impossibility. They by their nature will all seek to dominate the others.

Only Christanity, as understood by the founding fathers of this great country, can provide the environment and protection for free exercise of all religions, as well as for those who choose not to be religious. It alone can provide an environment for true human equality and individual liberty and freedom.

God bless America!

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First of all we have to ask, is Christianity a part of our nation’s historical development and identity? If yes, then we must follow up with the question…to what extent?

In 1892 the United States Supreme Court, in the case of the Church of Holy Trinity v. United States, made this statement in their ruling: “No purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people…this is a Christian nation.”

In 1854, the U.S. Congress declared: “Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle”.

The 1811 Supreme Court of New York case, The People v.Ruggles, it was declared,”We are a Christian people and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity and NOT UPON THE DOCTRINES of those imposters [other religions]…We are people whose manners…and whose morals have been elevated and inspired by means of the Christian religion.”

As David Barton puts it, “America granted broad religious toleration to other religions not in spite of, but because of Christian beliefs.” No where else in the world is there such tremendous freedom of religion… so established and protected upon the bedrock of Christian truth.

It seems obvious that America is founded upon the “bedrock of Christian truth,” and that all Americans, be they Christian, Muslim, Budhist, Atheist or another, should join in a chorus of “God bless America” for the tremendous freedoms we enjoy because we are founded on such a bedrock of individual liberty and freedom.

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There is much in the way of factual evidence spread throughout our nation’s history declaring the spiritual and moral foundation of our Judeo/Christian heritage.  Included in this body of evidence are declarations by both the Supreme Court and Congress stating that America’s identity spiritually and morally is centered ideologically and philosophically as a Christian nation, acknowledging the Bible as the authoritative Word of God and recognizing the Lordship of Jesus Christ and His sovereign rule over the affairs of men.  Yet, there are those who would vehemently argue that this is not the case. They would cite many of America’s “unchristian” acts such as injustices done to Native Americans in the course of establishing its territory or the perpetuation of the slave trade.

To be sure there are many instances one could point out that would seem to negate any claim to being a “Christian” nation.  However, if the basis for disqualifying America is its failures, then there can be no Christian at all!  Certainly, also, the nation of Israel, as revealed in the Bible, could not be a nation chosen by God as His people, nor could King David, known in the Bible as a “man after God’s own heart” and a prophetic writer of many of the Psalms, qualify as God’s man. Both failed miserably, King David being both a murderer and an adulterer!  And for that matter, I say that I am a Christian.  Yet, there are many points in my life where I know I have acted very unchristian-like and there would be those who witnessed those times who would say, “how can he call himself a Christian?”

The problem here is that you cannot define Christianity solely by the actions of Christians.  Christianity is defined by the truth found in the Bible and on the basis of what Christ did to save mankind from sin.  Christianity is for failures who realize their accountability to the law of God and recognize that the only way to right standing with God is to receive God’s grace by faith, which includes the opportunity to repent when mistakes are made and to receive forgiveness and a new start.

America has failed many times, as have I.  But it has always had, as its spiritual and moral compass, the Bible as God’s absolute authoritative truth to steer her back on course and to “get things right”.  If we lose that compass, we will most certainly lose our way and our identity.  And when that happens, we will lose our future.

May we once again, as a nation and individuals, humbly turn back to the One Who has been so gracious to us, has blessed us and allowed us to be a blessing to so many others.  For He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  He is the God of America!

Daniel Tostenson

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Jul
23

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